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Come Live With Me

(1941 b 86')

En: 6 Ed: 5

To keep from being deported, a pretty immigrant gets a broke writer to marry her for money while her lover hopes to get a divorce.

Diana Kendrick (Verree Teasdale) advises her husband Barton Kendrick (Ian Hunter) what to publish and then goes out with a man while Barton calls on Austrian Johnny Jones (Hedy Lamarr) and dances with her. An immigration official (Barton MacLane) tells her to report for deportation but is persuaded to give her a week to marry an American citizen. Johnny goes for a walk. A hungry bum (Donald Meek) learns that writer Bill Smith (James Stewart) is broke and consoles him. Bill and Johnny take shelter from the rain. A waiter takes Bill's last dime, and Johnny takes him in a taxi to his apartment. Bill kisses Johnny, and she slaps him but then asks him to marry her. She needs a husband and offers him money. Bill gives her his budget of $17.80 a week. He writes a story "Without Love" but sees her only once a week.

After two months of this, Bill is talking to himself. Barton dances and dines with Johnny, saying he is going to get a divorce; but she says she is married. Johnny suggests to Bill they talk, and he shows her his story. Johnny asks for a divorce. The milkman advises Bill to have the man in his story take action. Bill mails copies of his story. Diana calls Barton to recommend the story about the Austrian, and Barton sees Bill, who says he made it up. Barton and Bill disagree on how it should end and feel personally involved. Diana has Barton pay Bill $500, and she tells her husband to make sure of his love for the woman before she divorces him.

Bill buys a new car and calls on Johnny. He likes her place and pays her back for ten weeks. He invites her on a trip and packs for her. Bill drives her to the country, and Johnny secretly calls Barton. On a farm Johnny meets Bill's Grandma (Adeline De Walt Reynolds) and appreciates her homespun wisdom. After dinner Bill and Johnny talk and then kiss. Bill goes to her room with a toothbrush and explains how fireflies court, giving her a flashlight. She thanks him for calling her Miss Jones. Bill quotes Marlowe's poem "Come live with me and be my love." Barton arrives and asks for his fiancé Johnny. Grandma tells Bill to eject Barton. Bill learns that Barton's wife paid him. Grandma urges Johnny to tell Bill how she feels. Bill sees the car drive off, but Johnny signals to him with the flashlight to come to her bed.

This charming romantic comedy is a pleasant fantasy for a writer, who has a beautiful woman present herself to him and support his work. The danger of an Austrian returning to that country at this time reflects the oppressive situation there.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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